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Uganda Releases Statement Regarding EU parliament’s resolution on EACOP

For the last couple of weeks, the conversation whether the  East African Crude Oil Pipe Line- EACOP project should be halted or continue has gained traction and now the government of Uganda has issued a statement to address key issues put forward by the European parliament.

Earlier this month, the EU Parliament sparked a debate in Uganda after passing a resolution that the governments of Uganda and Tanzania suspend the implementation of specifically the EACOP project.

The parliamentarians proposed a one-year wait for the government to look for an alternative route that would guarantee the safety of the environment and the protection of human rights.

According to the said Parliament, more than 100,000 persons are being forcibly evicted to make space for the coveted pipeline project and that they are being deprived from the use of their ‘land’ and so, from their livelihood before receiving required compensations.

This however, led to many questioning EU Parliament’s motive and the governments plus the joint venture companies have since rejected the Parliament’s suggestions.

President Museveni told the Uganda Oil and Gas Conference in Kampala that there is no plan to halt the developments of any of the projects, urging the EU MPs not to start a battle. He said it was not prudent to decampaign the pipeline which will not only transport crude to export markets but also move gas from either Mozambique or Tanzania to Uganda and other countries.

Mr January Makamba, Tanzania’s minister responsible for Energy said in a statement that the overall pipeline route has been designed to minimise environmental and social impacts.

He added: “But some physical displacement (loss of shelter) and economic impact (full or partial loss of farmland) is unavoidable. Land acquisition is compliant with both the Laws of Tanzania and the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation.”

And today, the ministry of energy and mineral development (Uganda) issued a statement noting that the European Parliament resolution contains several distortions, hearsay, and generalizations. At the very least, it is a blatant display of limited knowledge about the realities of Uganda’s oil and gas projects.

According to a statement, the Ministry on behalf of the Government of Uganda made the
following clarifications:

  1. The Government values its relationships with the EU and its Institutions. It is committed to furthering partnerships in all areas, including social and community development, human rights, climate change, and mutual benefit. It strongly believes that the sustenance of the partnership depends on upholding the universally accepted principles of mutual respect. The Government will, therefore, always welcome engagement with our Partners, including the EU,
    on any matter, provided there is adherence to the cardinal principles, which in Uganda’s view, are sacrosanct.
  2. The selection of the EACOP route followed an evaluation of three routes: (i) Hoima- Lokichar-Lamu and (ii) Hoima-Mombasa, both in Kenya, and (iii) Hoima-Tanga in Tanzania. The evaluation was based on best pipeline routing principles, including social, environmental, safety and economic considerations. The Hoima – Tanga route was selected as the best route for Uganda after careful evaluation based on the best pipeline routing principles. In addition, Uganda has up-to-date stringent laws on the environment and protected areas, which are strictly followed in developing oil and gas projects.
  3. The EACOP project, which is the subject of the resolution, has been designed to minimize irremediably harming the livelihoods of farmers, fisher folk and tourism business owners who depend upon the region’s rich natural resources. A specific Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) was therefore undertaken, and targeted measures were put in place to address any potential adverse effects on land-based livelihoods as part of the project. Thus, the Ministry would like to strongly disagree with the misleading narrations of human rights abuses detailed in the resolution about oil and gas projects.
  4. Compensation and relocation are being undertaken in accordance with national law, cultural and tr·aditional livelihood practices of the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and in compliance with international standards, including the International Finance Corporation and Equator Principles. Farming communities have been provided equitable arable land to continue their traditional income-generating practices, while others have been skilled to prepare them for jobs in upcoming infrastructure projects and other related activities. There is, therefore, verifiable evidence that the livelihoods of projectaffected persons have improved because of the projects.
  5. Commercializing the country’s oil and gas will also provide funds for the country’s development and investment in more renewable energy sources and the achievement of energy access for all Ugandans. In addition, Liquified Petroleum Gas from the project will be key in providing a cleaner cooking energy source that will save forest cover, which is being lost rapidly to charcoal and firewood.
  6. Regarding impact, the EACOP in Uganda affected 3,648 PAPs (not 100,000 or so as claimed by the EU Parliament), of which 2,662 have already signed compensation agreements and 1,977 fully paid. The project is also constructing 183 replacement houses for the PAPs who opted for physical resettlement. Contrary to the claims in the EU Parliament’s resolution, the compensation process is progressing well, and no land has been acquired before fair and adequate compensation payment.
  7. Ugandans are already reaping benefits from the progress of the oil activities, with 160,000 people expected to be employed at the peak of activities. Currently, 5,000 people are employed, of which 94% are Ugandans. In addition, international development partners such as the World Bank are supporting targeted skilling and infrastructure developments where oil and gas activities are taking place to enable the citizens and communities maximally benefit from the sector’s activities.
  8. In terms of contracts, since February 2022, when the Final Investment Decisions
    (FIDs) were announced, the TotalEnergies and CNOOC (U) Ltd., through the established tendering processes, have awarded contracts totaling about US$6.8 billion, of which an estimated US$ 1. 73 Billion (25%) have been awarded to Ugandan companies. Uganda’s oil and gas journey is progressing well, and the sector is expected to significantly contribute to the country’s socio-economic transformation and overall development.
  9. The Ministry wishes to emphasize that the oil projects have been designed to technologically generate the lowest possible carbon footprint. Overall, the projects fall within the category of “low emission”. The carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) emission per barrel for Uganda’s upstream and midstream projects is estimated to be 20-45 kgC02e. This is well below the global average of 70-100 kgC02e.
  10. Uganda’s recoverable oil resources are currently estimated at 1.4 billion barrels. Assuming an average of 30 kgC02e per barrel, the total emissions are estimated at 42 mTC02e over the production period of 25 years which is an average of 1.68mT per year (not 34mT as stated in the resolution). More so, 80% of Uganda’s energy is from renewable sources such as hydro-power, solar and biomass. The country has been promoting other clean energy initiatives with many development partners, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft fiir Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). Promoting and manufacturing zero-emission vehicles (EVs) by Kiira Motors Corporation, a State-owned car manufacturer, is among the key priorities Government is curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.
  11. The Ministry would like to thank His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, for his unwavering support and commitment to the oil and gas projects and the oil companies for implementing the various project components per the existing laws and best international practices. The Ministry also commends the Parliament of Uganda for the constructive debates over time which has enabled the oil and gas projects to reach this far in the country. Lastly, for the varying support and encouragement from the concerned Ugandan citizens from the day the resolutions were published.
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